Ashton Kutcher, Dakota Fanning, Courteney Cox and other celebrities may have taken the Presidential Pledge to service back in 2009, but in 2011, Strong Women, Strong Girls in Pittsburgh was a National Winner in service!  Strong Women, Strong Girls college women mentors from the University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University led their elementary school girls in implementing a unique service project; Supporting a Cause.  The girls learned to created safe and natural personal care products which they sold in their communities.  Monies raised were donated to Wilkinsburg Boys and Girls Club, Rainbow Kitchen Community Services, The Best of the Batch Foundation and the Homeless Children’s Education Fund.  For their efforts, the mentors and girls were chosen as one of just seven national winners out of over 4,700 Youth Service Challenge entries!
The Supporting a Cause service projects were completed as culminating part of girls’ experience in Strong Women, Strong Girls.  During the first half of the program, girls build foundational skills that are essential for healthy development, such as critical thinking and good communication. During the second half of the program, girls put their skills into action by completing a community service project.  These projects empower girls to be agents for change in their community and foster a commitment to civic engagement.

The Youth Service Challenge was launched by the Jefferson Awards for Public Service and Ways to Help in September, 2010.  Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield sponsored the Youth Service Challenge in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.  With their support, the Youth Service Challenge was able to engage young people to come up with big, meaningful community service projects.  They become engaged in service, do great work in the community and are eligible to win national and local prizes.  The Jefferson Awards and Highmark understand the importance of cultivating the next generation of volunteers as an essential component to building healthier communities.  Support for the development of the Support a Cause curriculum was provided to Strong Women, Strong Girls by the 2010 Heinz Endowments Summer Philanthropy Retrofit Beauty Team.